– I blogged earlier this week about Rochester’s lame New Year’s Eve party that ends at 10 p.m. And features bouncy houses, face-painting and kazoos.
Apparently, Rochester is not alone in ending the festivities well before midnight. The Wall Street Journal reported on the proliferation on early events around the country:
Even the most social people find it more convenient to get a leg up on the new year. At Boston’s First Night, an annual New Year’s arts-and-cultural celebration that attracts a million, organizers say attendance for the events that happen earlier in the day is as high as those that happen closer to midnight.
Other towns, zoos and amusement parks have created an even earlier alternative New Year celebration, dubbed “Noon Year’s Eve,” with countdowns and ball drops that happen when the sun is high in the sky.
I still think it would be nice to celebrate the new year when the new year arrives. That would not preclude earlier events for those who want to go to bed early.
– Americans have been going crazy over the success of Finnish schools. Their teachers are highly regarded, well paid and well trained. But there’s something we conspicuously leave out when describing Finland’s education system, The Atlantic reports:
“…there are no private schools in Finland.”
This notion may seem difficult for an American to digest, but it’s true. Only a small number of independent schools exist in Finland, and even they are all publicly financed. None is allowed to charge tuition fees. There are no private universities, either. This means that practically every person in Finland attends public school, whether for pre-K or a Ph.D.
The problem facing education in America isn’t the ethnic diversity of the population but the economic inequality of society, and this is precisely the problem that Finnish education reform addressed. More equity at home might just be what America needs to be more competitive abroad.
– We’ve heard of public health initiatives giving free syringes to drug addicts. But crack pipes? Vancouver is doing it.